Liam Charles’ carrot cake cookies

I was in the sixth form when one of my teachers asked me to make her a carrot cake. I went through a phase of making complementary biscuits to go with the cakes I baked, so I invented carrot cake cookies. Since then I’ve developed the recipe and these are not anyone’s sidekick any more. My carrot cake cookies take centre stage.

Haarala Hamilton


150g full-fat cream cheese
150g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

350g plain flour
½ tsp baking
1 tsp ground
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cloves
150g unsalted butter, softened
100g soft light brown sugar
50g soft dark brown sugar
1 large egg
200g carrot, finely grated

juice of 1 orange and zest of 2 oranges
4 tbsp walnuts, finely chopped

FILLING & DOUGH Mix the cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of the icing sugar and the vanilla in a large bowl until combined, then pop in the freezer for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, measure your flour, baking powder and spices in another bowl. Beat your butter and both sugars together in a third bowl until creamy. Beat your egg into the butter mixture, then tip in your grated carrot. Mix together well. Tip your dry ingredients into the carrot mixture and mix slowly to form a dough.

TO ROLL & FILL Preheat your oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Flour your hands! Weigh the dough and divide into 15 equal balls. Then flatten them slightly into thin discs using the palm of your hand. Add a generous teaspoon of the cream cheese filling to the centre of each disc and wrap the dough around the filling to seal. Pinch the top and roll it back into a ball, making sure no filling leaks out. Pop the balls on to the tray and flatten slightly. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

BAKE THE COOKIES for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for a few minutes to firm up, then transfer to a wire rack to cool further.

DO THE DECOR Sift the remaining icing sugar into a small bowl and mix with the orange juice – you’re aiming for a drizzling consistency. Flick the icing over the cookies and top with zest and walnuts.

EAT UP! These are best eaten the day they’re made. They’ll keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container. Pop them in the fridge, though – there’s dairy in the middle.

Cheeky Treats by Liam Charles will be published by Hodder & Stoughton on 12 July, price £20. To order a copy for £15 until 15 July visit or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.